Louis Handley

Louis de Breda Handley or Luigi de Breda (February 14, 1874 – December 28, 1956) was an Italian-born American freestyle swimmer and water polo player who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.

Louis Handley
Personal information
Full nameLouis de Breda Handley
National teamUnited States
Born(1874-02-14)February 14, 1874
Rome, Italy
DiedDecember 28, 1956(1956-12-28) (aged 82)
New York, New York
StrokesFreestyle, water polo
ClubNew York Athletic Club

He was the son of the American sculptor Francis Montague Handley and his Italian wife. He was registered in Rome as an Italian citizen with the baptismal name of Luigi and the surname of his mother, "de Breda".

In 1896 he fled to New York and added to his name the surname of his father. He worked in a small firm imports and devoted himself to his second passion after hunting, swimming. He was also a great water polo player (his style of shooting was called "jumping salmon").

In the 1904 Olympics he won a gold medal in the 4x50 yard freestyle relay, and was a member of New York Athletic Club water polo team, which won a gold medal. He also competed in the one-mile freestyle but did not finish.

As a trainer, he led Ethelda Bleibtrey to three gold medals at the 1920 Olympics, and Gertrude Ederle to the first English Channel-crossing by a woman in 1926.

He wrote the entry dedicated to swimming on the Encyclopædia Britannica.


  • Handley, L. De. B., How to play water polo, American Sports Publishing Company, New York, 1910
  • Handley, L. De. B., Swimming and Watermanship, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1918
  • Handley, L. De. B., Thirty Lessons in Swimming, The Milo Publishing Company, New York

See also

  • Handley, l' italiano d' America (in Italian)
  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Lou Handley". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
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